Edinburgh Napier University used to provide ‘referencing guidance’ through a PDF format but the student population felt this did not promote active learning. A student group in consultation with staff believed this could be improved and simplified for the School of Nursing Midwifery and Social Care improving the student experience and promoting active learning. One of the solutions that the partnership raised was a mobile application based on a ‘flash card’ action. Information Services was approached to develop a mobile application, which could be embedded in the university site. In addition, the ‘app’ could be developed as a general University ‘flash-card’ application that staff could populate with content, as the course, module and/or student need required in terms of promoting active learning.
Work done to date was based on Norman’s theory ‘principles of good design’ ‘everyday designs’ vis-à-vis: visibility, mappings, affordances, constraints and mental models (Norman 2002). These principles form the basis of a conceptual model on how individuals interact with devices. Initially the idea was paper based generating flash cards for categories of reference. Then this idea extended to a Flashcards mobile application, which led to a further exploration of using a mobile device for the dissemination of referencing guidance.
Thus, the project required the simple functionality of ‘tapping’ to turn over the card, or ‘flicking’ for the next card as it was felt that this was a natural signal for those who use mobile applications. As you would have to flick through a series of cards to pinpoint the category required; it would be useful to have a category / contact list in order to find the particular reference guide required. Another important feature of the mobile flashcards would be that they are downloadable to the mobile device and therefore available when there is a no mobile signal or wireless connection.
The main reason for developing an ‘in house’ application was to avoid problems that could occur when the student has to initially locate the ‘app’ from the store; as students may experience problems uploading or accessing the appropriate application, with no support being given by the university IT staff when difficulties occur.
This presentation will highlight the benefits and challenges in developing the specification and Moodle flashcard application for the 'referencing guidance', Moodle site and mobile application, with development and technical difficulties discussed.
Norman, D. (2002). The Design of Everyday Things, Basic Books.
Campbell, K., Jamie, A., Bruce, I., & Blair, J. (2014, April). “Moodle Flashcard Application: A Development for Reference Guidance”. Presented at Moodlemoot 2014, Edinburgh